When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret, and moored the boat.
we were headed toward Bethsaida
rowing like our lives depended on it
such persistence we had
stubborn in the face of such a wind
that’s us loyal to a fault
especially when that fault is in us
sea shanty after shanty was sung
until we began hallucinating
at long last we got our bearings
Bethsaida here we come
and then we arrived at Gennesaret
how did that happen
we’re sailors in our own pond
we know directions wind and wave
this is a baffling turn of events
what else do we think we are sure of
It is not unusual on a journey to end up at a waypoint different than expected. This shift from Bethsaida to Gennesaret takes us back to the basics of fishing for people.
This simple stage direction is as integral to the vision of Jesus as any healing or feeding or teaching or prophecy. It indicates a vast understanding from much testing and retreat reflection on that testing. “Seventy times seven” but scratches the surface of times to regroup after one more unexpected landing.
Imagine if the story ended with verse 52—hearts changed away from good news.
But, after intending to pass by on his way to somewhere—(Gennesaret? Bethsaida? Elsewhere?) Jesus ends up in the boat. This shift is a form of repentance from going it alone to throwing one’s lot in with questionable others. This valuing of inclusion has previously shown up with Noahic rainbows, Abram advocating for Sodom, Moses interceding for the Israelites at Sinai, Jonah finally coming around and whispering in Ninevah. Even when arriving at a different conclusion than that intended, Jesus does not giving up on misdirected, hard-hearted, and fearful partners.
What seems like segue material turns out to be a summary of journeys toward an evolving good news, not a static news sequentially codified as a creedal statement intended for all time. This will carry us to the end of a story that will be reread to go deeper into the beginning of good news that won’t be appreciated the first or even second or third time through.
A missed landing shows providence still at work.